Yesterday Barack Obama made history by becoming the first black President of these United States. The enthusiasm and pride of the million plus people who endured hours of bitter cold to witness his inauguration was truly inspiring. We can all be very proud that this new chapter in American history has begun. It is my earnest prayer that the ugly scourge of racism and disenfranchisement of African-Americans; indeed all people, no matter what color, can be put behind us forever.
President Obama’s speech was typical of those he delivered during his campaign, filled with the phrases of hope that became the platform on which he ran – “we are one”, “yes we can”, “nothing is impossible”, “this is not about me, but about you”, etc. These words have instilled a great sense of hope in the masses and expectations upon our new President are very high. Truly he will need our prayers in the days to come as we face some of the greatest crises in the history of this nation.
Personally, I’m not as full of hope as most, it seems. I’m not a pessimist by nature, but life has taught me that talk is cheap, people are mostly fickle, selfish and lazy by nature, and common sense is in short supply today, especially in Washington D.C. Simply electing a new President, no matter how charismatic or brilliant he (or she) may be will not make a whit of difference if we don’t get a rapid and comprehensive infusion of guts and brains into our Democrat-controlled congress as well.
True to form, I’d like to be controversial (what? Rich? controversial?) and address one idea that keeps popping up in the commentaries made by Christians since the election. “God is in control of everything” seems to be a popular theme these days, which is clearly meant to say that God put Obama into office. I have very strong objections to this concept, and I’d like to share another perspective.
The Bible is filled with examples of God raising up leaders, both good and evil, to rule over His people. Many Christians in this hour are quick to quote Paul’s admonition in Romans 13:1-3 in defense of their position that God is in control of our elections:
” Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.”
Thus the reasoning goes that it must be God who put Barack Obama in office, and whatever happens must therefore be the will of God.
But let’s think about this for a moment. If we make this verse a doctrine and apply it literally and broadly across the fabric of history, I think we’ll see a problem emerge. When Martin Luther nailed his theses to the door at Whitenburg was he in rebellion against God? He was surely rebelling against authority; and spiritual authority at that. How about the Fathers of our nation who fought against the forces of the British Crown to establish a new, independent government in defiance of their authority? What about those German Christians who refused to support Hitler’s campaign to exterminate the Jewish people from the face of the earth? How about those millions of Christians around the world today who must worship in secret because the practice of Christianity is forbidden by their government. Do we have a problem with this doctrine yet?
Let’s make it more real with some possibilites we could very well face in the not too distant future. What will you do if the government decides to limit you to only having 1 child because of new population control laws? What will you do when your income tax rates are 50%, 60%, even 70% of what you make in order to pay the interest on the national debt they have amassed in bailing out the banks, auto industry, etc.? What will you do when the public school your 5 year old attends starts teaching that homosexual unions are normal and then informs you that you have no say in the matter because homosexual marriage is now the law? Will you submit when the government wants to tell you what kind of car you can drive, what food you can eat, what temperature your home must be, and what clothes you will wear in the name of environmental responsibility and world equality? In the face of these things, will you sit passively by and cling to your doctrine that God is in control of everything and all leaders come into power in accordance with His will?
I think all Christians can agree that the death of Christ on the cross was the pivotal point of history. Most Christians view the sacrifice of Christ through the lens of personal salvation. While this is the central truth of the cross, there is another equally significant truth involved; the establishment of God’s Kingdom upon the earth and the beginning of a new covenant and a brand new Age of righteousness.
Since that day, the Kingdom has been growing, expanding, filling this world, day by day, heart by heart. This Kingdom is God’s rule and reign upon the earth. It’s goal and purpose is the complete and total transformation of every nation, people and tribe, bringing the life-giving will and purposes of God into full realization upon the earth.
This Kingdom comes challenging the authority of the enemy – the god of this age, who possesses great power and influence in every nation and foments rebellion against the perfect will of God and His Kingdom. Thus we are in a war for the hearts of men and for the soul of every nation, especially that in which we live.
The clear commandment of Christ is to dwell in God’s love, to love our fellow man, and seek the righteousness of God. He also commanded us to make disciples (followers) of this Kingdom and teach them how to live and walk in righteousness. I believe we could sum this up with Jesus words – “I have come that they might have life in abundance“. There is no country on earth where that is more possible than America, the land of the free and the home of the brave.
What is my point? I believe that the birth of America was the culminating fruit of centuries of Kingdom expansion upon the earth. This land was birthed by those who sought freedom – to be free to live in peace, pursue their dreams, and worship God in whatever manner they desired. In only 100 years, America because the greatest nation that has ever existed upon the earth, not because we were the richest or most powerful, but because we were a free people, and our founding documents, if followed, virtually guaranteed our success. We also became the beachhead and top exporter of the Gospel of the Kingdom to the nations of the earth.
However, the last 100 years have seen a terrible reversal of these vital principles. Slowly but surely our government has gotten bigger and ever more powerful. Taxes are increasing while freedom is decreasing. Righteousness living is no longer common as our nation’s moral fabric has disintegrated. Truth is increasingly in short supply as the media spews lies and excrement to an adrenaline-addicted, intellectually slothful generation. International financial interests wield far more power in political realms than the masses they govern. Things are not as they should be.
Did God put Barack Obama in power? No, He did not. We did. We the people. Do not blame God for anything that happens on your watch, Christian. We hold the destiny of this nation in our hands. God has not left us alone, but He has left us in charge.
You see, it was God-fearing men and women who took the principles of the Kingdom of God seriously and fought and bled and died to create this great nation where freedom reigned and government was intentionally restrained by law:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.“
Does this mean that I believe God is opposed to Barack Obama? No more than He is opposed to you or I. God is for us all. But we are deceived if we believe that God picks sides, for He does not.
The real question is this – is Barack Obama on God’s side? How can we tell? “You shall know them by their fruits“. When President Obama seeks to bring peace and prosperity, promoting freedom and liberty for all the people, he is surely on God’s side. At the same time, when President Obama appoints activist judges who erode liberty and freedom, who open up the floodgates of unrestrained murder of unborn babies, he is surely not a friend of God nor His Kingdom.
I believe “God is in control” is a Christian cop-out. True, God is all powerful, but in this Age He chooses to limit His power, seeking to exercise it almost solely through the ambassadors of His Kingdom. The gift of freedom is a fearful thing, for it bears great responsibility. Adam was free to partake of the forbidden fruit. Man is free to love God or hate him. And we, as Americans have been graced with the freedom to choose what kind of nation we shall have. Every election is another opportunity to either advance or restrain the rule and reign of God in our nation by choosing righteous or unrighteous leaders to govern us. Let us stop blaming God for our own failures to act responsibility with the great power and freedom He has given to us.
Yesterday Barack Obama swore an oath on the Lincoln Bible to uphold the Constitution of the United States. I’m going to hold him to that, and I pray you will as well. If we do not, we shall have no one to blame but ourselves for our great loss.
Let us earnestly pray that President Obama will be firmly on God’s side… that he will turn from the ungodly positions he has held in his former days, and govern righteously and wisely. May God have mercy upon us.
Until next time,
“When the righteous rule, the people rejoice”